(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on this and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)
July 6, 2019 — I was dismayed and disappointed by the Lee Patten Guest Viewpoint (“No Room For Bullies In Our Local Government,” July 3) in the Siuslaw News. Lea Patten claims that our Mayor, Joe Henry, has been unethical in his actions and statements with regard to FURA and the Public Art Committee (PAC) funding.
Some time back, I was on the City Council for eight years, so I am familiar with what the state ethics board views as unethical, how the council works and how FURA and Council Committees work.
Making claims about an elected official being unethical is a serious matter, especially when the facts are likely otherwise. Patton based her claim on the Siuslaw News front page story “Councilor Conflict Dominates Discussion (June 29).
After having re-read the article several times, I found that, yes, there is conflict. But I also found nothing unethical about the Mayor’s actions or statements. I have great respect for the City Council members, the FURA members, PAC members, and the work they have done for our community.
I also must admit that I questioned the mural chosen for the PUD building, but now feel that, as it progresses, it is looking better than I thought it would.
The fact remains that when any member of a city committee makes statements in or on any public media, they must clarify as to who they speak for, i.e., the committee (with committee permission) or themselves in their own opinion.
In my opinion, Mayor Henry was simply making it very clear as to what the council’s prior actions were and what the rules are when any of the council, or FURA members, and/or any city committee members, speak via public media.
I am disturbed that this issue (public art) is dividing our community and city as it has. I hope and pray that all involved will step back and take the time to let calmer minds prevail.
We as a community need to come together and preserve all of the good we have accomplished in the past; going to war will not accomplish anything but hard feelings and destruction of all the good that has been accomplished.
Come on people, put this behind you and move forward together!